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Headstone of Charles Henderson, USCT

risingfree

African American History
in South Central
Pennsylvania:
the 19th century

Midland Cemetery
Gallery of World War Burials

 

Midland Cemetery was recently rescued from neglect by local historian Barbara B. Barksdale, who began the Friends of Midland organization.  That organization is the best source of information on the cemetery.  They can be contacted at the following address:
Friends of Midland, P. O. Box 7442, Steelton, Pennsylvania 17113-0442.

V

The grave of Eulie Waid (1895-1951) on the edge of the clearing.eterans of both World Wars are interred within the boundaries of Midland Cemetery.  Some plots, like the grave of Eulie Waid, seen on the introduction page, are at the edge of the cleared site and must be faithfully attended so that the fast-growing brush does not reclaim them.  

World War I veteran Eulie Waid lived January 25, 1895 to November 30, 1951. He served as a private with the 810th Pioneer Infantry, a segregated unit which was used mostly for labor details.

Regularly decorated with American flags, the known veterans' graves at Midland are easily distinguishable from those of non-veterans.  The grave of Sid Swamp, another World War I veteran, also has a bronze marker in the style of modern flat markers supplied by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Eulie Waid's marker is also government furnished, although it is made of stone, and like Sid Swamp's marker, follows the government guidelines for a grave marker.  The Department of Veterans Affairs Fact Sheet:  2001 VA's Headstones and Markers states "The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of an eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world."  It also lays down inscription guidelines, as follows:

Government-furnished headstones and markers must be inscribed with the name of the deceased, branch of service, and years of birth and death, in this order.

Headstones and markers also may be inscribed with other items, including an authorized "emblem of belief" such as a cross or Star of David and, space permitting, additional text that includes grade, rate or rank, war service, complete dates of birth and death, military awards, military organizations and civilian or veteran affiliations.

Grave marker of Sid Swamp, 1897-1964.Sid Swamp, a native of Alabama, served with I Company, 2nd Development Battalion, in World War I.  Note the concrete and brick base under the bronze marker.

Many veterans of World War One belonged to the American Legion Andrew Askins, Post 479, in Steelton.  A surviving list of members from 1927 to 1935 has been posted elsewhere on this site.  Click here to view that page.

In World War II the War Department continued to use segregated units under white officers, with most African American units still being used for non-combat duties.  It would not be until the Korean War that integrated units appeared by Executive Order 9981, issued in 1948 by President Harry S Truman.

Jacob H. Walker served in World War II as a private with the 574th Quartermaster Railhead Company.  That unit, which was organized in 1943, landed at Normandy, fought through Central Europe, and is still active, having participated in Desert Storm and Provide Comfort.

 

Grave marker of Jacob H. Walker, July 6, 1923 - July 12, 1948.Walker died shortly after the war ended, in the same year that integrated military units first appeared.

Epitaph on Walker's marker, left: [Cross emblem]/"JACOB H WALKER/ PENNSYLVANIA/ PFC 574 QM RAILHEAD CO/ WORLD WAR II/ JULY 6 1923  JULY 12 1948"  As can be seen, the government-furnished marker follows the guidelines as set forth above, as do the  others depicted in this article.  Walker's stone is set on a cast concrete base.

 

A good website about African Americans in World War II is:
Lest We Forget:  African Americans in World War II
 
by Benny J. McRae, Jr.  Be sure to read "The Belgium Report," listed under "Special Reports," for an emotional account of 11 Black GIs murdered by advancing Nazi troops in a small Belgian village, and how the villagers remember those soldiers to this day.

More Midland Photo Galleries

The Civil War Burials at Midland
Home Crafted Tombstones at Midland
Gallery of Home Crafted Memorials at Midland
Gallery of Plot Boundary Markers at Midland
Artifacts of a Historic Cemetery

Names of Persons Buried at Midland

Tombstone Transcriptions
All Names, A-Z

Other Pages

Andrew Askins Post 479 Veterans
Steelton Death Certificates, 1892-1893

About the Friends of Midland

Special Feature ~ The People of Midland:

 

Return to Midland Introduction

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This page was updated November 22, 2005.